John Bunyan and Pilgrim’s Progress: Timeline

John Bunyan

1628 Bunyan born

1644 Drafted into the Parlimentary army

1649 Marries first wife

1651 Bunyan comes under ministry of John Gifford

1653 Bunyan baptized

1656 First preaches in public

1656 Publishes Some Gospel Truths Opened

1658 First wife dies; left with four children

1659 Marries Elizabeth

1660 Improsioned until 1672 for unlicensed preaching

1666 Grace Abounding published

1672 Called as pastor of Bedford church (Jan. 21)

1672 Released from prison

1672 Licensed as Congregational preacher (May 9)

1675 Warrant issued for Bunyan’s arrest

1677 Inprisioned for six months for not attending parish church

1678 Pilgrim’s Progress, Part 1, published

1682 Holy War published

1684 Pilgrim’s Progress, Part 2, published

1688 Bunyan dies

1692 Elizabeth dies

English Monarchy

Elizabeth I (1558–1603)

James I (1603–1625)

Charles I (1625–1649)

Civil War (1642–1646)

Cromwell’s Protectorate (1649–1660)

Charles II (1660–1685)

James II (1685–1689)

William & Mary (1689–1702)

World Events

1603 Scotland and England united

1605 Gunpowder plot stirs hatred of Roman Catholics

1606 Plague in London

1608 John Milton born (1608–1674)

1611 King James Bible completed

1616 William Shakespeare dies

1617 Calvin’s completed works published in Geneva (posth.)

1618–1648 Thiry Years War in Europe

1620 Mayflower leaves Plymouth, England

1622 James I dissolves Parliment

1628 Parliment makes Petition of Rights

1628 William Harvey publishes work on blood circulation

1633 Galileo forced to renounce heretical ideas

1633 William Laud becomes Archbishop of Canterbury

1642 Sir Isaac Newton born (1642–1727)

1644 William Penn born (1644–1718)

1648 George Fox founds Society of Friends 

1650 Bishop James Ussher calculates beginning of world as 4004 b.c.

1653 Rump Parliment dissolved

1655 Jews readmitted to England

(1656–1659) England at war with Spain

1660 Declamation of Breda

1662 Act of Uniformity

1664 Conventicle Act

1665 Five-Mile Act

1665 England at war with Holland (1665–1667)

1665 Great plauge devastates London

1666 Great London fire

1667 Milton’s Paradise Lostpublished

1672 Declaration of Indulgence (revoked following year)

1672 England at war with Holland (1672–1674)

1675 Sir Christopher Wren begins rebuilding of St. Paul’s Cathedral

1678 Popish Plot

1682 Halley predicts comet

1685 Declaration of Indulgence

1688 Glorious Revolution (1688–1689)

1689 Bill of Rights

1689 Toleration Act

1697 Respected sea captain William Kidd turns to piracy

By the Editors

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #11 in 1986]

Next articles

Principalities and Powers: Authorities in Conflict

The events of Bunyans life were played out in 17th century England. It was a time when politics and religion were inextricably intertwined, and both state and church were facing major conflicts.

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Furnishing as it did much counsel, caution and consolation amid the toilsome traffic of daily life, Pilgrim’s Progress bore a message that was at once both useful and agreeable.

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The opening scene of The Pilgrim’s Progress presents a solitary figure crying out in anguish. His distress expresses Bunyan’s own tormenting struggle with sin—yet not his alone. Throughout the book’s history, readers have seen themselves in the man with the great burden on his back, and recognized their own spiritual pilgrimages in Christian’s journey to the Celestial City.

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Grace Abounding is Bunyan’s spiritual autobiography. The book’s major concern is the working of God’s grace in his life. Bunyan wrote the account to encourage friends and followers who faced struggles and persecutions like his own.

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